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Even when summed up in one word by members of the cast, Season 2 of The Boys sounds absolutely crazy in the best way possible. During a visit to the show's Toronto set last fall, SYFY WIRE was made privy to all sorts of fun tidbits about the sophomore outing (debuting later this week), like the addition of Shawn Ashmore as Lamplighter, which we had to keep under wraps for close to a year. While we're still not allowed to spill all of the set-related details just yet, we can relay how the actors described some of the new season's most memorable moments in one word.
Jack Quaid ("Hughie Campbell") and Laz Alonso ("Mother's Milk") said "blood"; Tomer Capon ("Frenchie") went with "bite"; Erin Moriarty ("Starlight") said "choke"; and Karen Fukuhara ("Kimiko") broke from the pack by offering up a name instead of a verb: "Lucy."
Let's focus on Capon's statement, though, because that ended up becoming a running motif throughout the various set interviews. "I had to bite really hard on something. Just wait for the bite," Capon cryptically told the gathered journalists in the set used for Madelyn Stillwell's office.
In a later discussion, Alonso hinted that the bite was the improvised result of a moment involving Mother's Milk. "There was never 'bite' in the script," he said. Several drafts later, however, and showrunner Erik Kripke decided to add in a special little something for Alonso's character.
"We're always making fun of each other and when they mentioned it, I thought they were f***ing with me. I was like, 'That sh**'s never gonna happen,'" the actor added. "I go into makeup and they’re like, ‘Yeah, you ready for that moment?’ I’m like, 'Look, you guys ain’t funny! I know it’s not happening! That would never happen.' I come to find out, it was in the latest draft that I hadn’t read yet. So I look it up, and it’s there. It really is happening. And this would've been hell for me. Next season, I would've been on everybody's Instagram page. So then I'm like, 'All right, OK. We'll see what happens.' On the day when we're shooting it, I improv this moment and that's the moment. I left [Tomer] no choice to have to do what I asked him to do on camera. And I kept doing it take after take after take until finally, he just did it. And now, Frenchie will be mean."
"My favorite [scene] that I’m so excited for everyone to see is the 'bite' one," Moriarty said. "Just know that it’s The Boys, so if it involves teeth and biting, it’s not going to be anything you’ve seen before."
Quaid, who also used "speed" as a one-word answer (perhaps referring to Jessie Usher's A-Train), teased the sheer amount of gore his character encounters this season.
"I get all the blood on me," he promised. "I’ve done stuff this season I’ve never done in my career before. I don’t think anyone has ever done [this stuff] in their career before! It’s the most specific, insane sh** you’ll ever see on screen. I’m sorry, it’s insane. Just wait!"
When the cameras aren't rolling, the cast gets up to all sorts of hijinks, including practical jokes and a "never-ending backgammon game" that's been going on between Capon and Karl Urban ("Billy Butcher") since Season 1 began. Despite the fact that there is some light cheating going on, Capon is confident that his backgammon dishonesty helps his co-star get into the right headspace for scenes where feigning anger is required.
"We just played it yesterday like 50 or 60 games," he said. "Sometimes, when I’m on a losing streak, which doesn’t usually happen, if he will go and shoot a scene and he’s on the winning side, let’s say I will adjust the table a little bit to my favor. That’s a funny thing between us. I love when Karl has these tough and angry scenes and I beat him — I feel like I’m doing him a favor. Then he goes and does the scene and it's beautiful and I say, ‘That’s me. No problem, Karl.'"
Quaid has his own ritual with Urban in which the two deliver birthday cakes to one another when it isn't their birthdays. The prank has since bled into the fandom.
"We’ve told that story at a few conventions, me and Karl, and now people are coming up to me with birthday cakes out of nowhere," Quaid said. "We were at Dragon Con at a booth right next to Karl, and someone comes up and was like, 'I love the show,' and 'ya got caked,' which is what you say. And [Karl] made the entire hall sing happy birthday to me. It’s never really my birthday ... The fact that people are taking pranks that the cast does to each other and doing it to us in the real world, is a whole other level to me. I was like, 'Ok, I guess we struck some kind of chord with people. This is really cool.'"
Another prank involved Urban's penchant for taking "sexy selfies of himself," Quaid explained. "We like to give him a bit of sh** about that. So Karl took one on a beautiful fall day when we were shooting. The next day, Laz sent me this photo and we said, 'OK, we gotta get him,' because he’d done one before where he was laid out on a bed and we all copied him. It’s playful, really. We’re all making fun of Karl. It comes from a place of love. We mess with each other so often, that’s just a beautiful part of being with this group of actors. Even the new people, I feel like we’re family. This season, they’ve all just joined the family. It’s really cool to work with your friends."
"We personally feel that we have a lot more fun than they do on set," Alonso said, positing that the Boys side of the cast has more fun than the Seven faction. "We play jokes on each other. We’re constantly bagging on each other. Karl’s a big practical joker. I’m a practical joker. Frenchie, he’s Frenchie. He’s God’s gift to America... The few times we have been on Supe sets, man, they've just been so stiff!... We'll go out drinking on weekends and it's fun."
Moriarty is thankful that Starlight, who has decided to turn against Vought, "dips into both worlds." She added: "Ironically, the Boys, they are darker. They are the vigilantes. They are the good guys, but their vibe and the dynamic of their group is a little bit darker. I’ve been having a lot of fun working with the Boys, I gotta admit."
Nathan Mitchell, who plays the taciturn Black Noir, asserted that the folks playing the uptight (and often sociopathic) Supes still get to have their share of good times on set. "The thing about the Seven is we usually have these solo missions and story arcs, so we’re not together as much as the Boys," Mitchell said. "But when we are, we’re laughing, we’re joking, it’s a fun time."
Mitchell didn't have a single-word description for Season 2, but hinted at a little more development for his silent character, who we saw decapitate another Supe in the opening minutes of the premiere episode.
"I will say that Noir... there is somebody under that mask. And from the outside, it looks like there’s a lot of armor and it’s kind of impenetrable. But he puts himself in harm’s way a lot; as you’ve seen from Season 1, he’s the one dude Homelander trusts. Homelander needs someone to get their hands dirty, to handle business; he’ll send Black Noir to do some damage," Mitchell said. "You’ll see a few missions for Black Noir this season and in those missions, he might be in some pretty dangerous circumstances that may or may not damage parts of his suit. So, what happens when his suit’s damaged?"
The Boys returns to Amazon Prime this Friday (Sep. 4). The first three episodes will be released all at once, while the remaining five are rolled out on a weekly basis. Aisha Tyler (Archer) is hosting a special aftershow for all eight installments. A third season has already been ordered, with Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) set to appear as Soldier Boy.